Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Misquote Can Ruin My Whole Day

When I think about an average day in my life, it's really rather boring! I wake up whenever. I eat crap for food. I go in to work. I come home and waste an untold number of hours on the internet. Like right now...I haven't been to sleep since Thursday night! I'll pass out sometime around noon for a couple hours and the whole thing starts all over again. But some days...very few lately, are incredible! I wake up with the sun, I'm productive (used here as a relative term). Bills get payed, social networks are used to communicate with friends that I really should speak with more, and I find something that inspires me yet still manages not to spur me into action. For reference, let's just imagine that the day I decided to put some actual effort into writing this blog was a day like that, or the day that I decided to switch to electronic cigarettes (which I promise I'll talk more about later). The point is, sometimes I'll be having a really good day... even work will be good! Until just before 11 o'clock!

I work evenings (between 6 or 7 and midnight) at a radio station (which one doesn't matter) and there's this guy who calls in, usually between 10 and 11 PM! And every Black History Month without fail, he'll call in to the station almost every day with the exact same schtick. He'll talk about The Lincoln-Douglas Debates and he'll only ever use one actual quote! He says the same exact thing, every single time... I will now quote this regular caller.

"In The Lincoln Douglas Debates they said 'I do not regard the negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother or any kin to me whatever!' and that's what they believed!"

Basically he's advertising for his own little Black History class based on some stuff in the Bible, which I won't get into right now, because it's not the focus of this post! What is the focus? re-read that quote (BTW I wrote that from memory! I swear, it has literally been drilled into my head and it's killing me in a much more grotesque way than if it had been an actual drill!). The problem I have with it is that it's so vague in it's attribution, and since there's only one name that we know of the two, if you don't actually know, you're led to believe that Lincoln said it! So allow me to clarify!

The Lincoln Douglas Debates, famous in that they were reported on nation-wide, were a series of debates between (yeah) Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas! The Debates were held as a part of the race for Senate. Lincoln lost the Senate race, but then won in the 1860 election for President guessed it, Stephen Douglas. By the was Douglas who said that quote, and since Douglas said it, it would sand to reason that in a debate, Lincoln took the opposing view! Understandably for the time and place, he couldn't go whole hog on civil rights but Ole' Honest Abe did advocate recognizing Blacks as human beings, and as far as first steps go, that was huge!

The haphazard use of the quote by this guy...and the regularity of the (un?)intentional mis-attribution bothers the hell out of me! And the guy never mentions any other quote from any other of the series of debates... It literally ruins my day every time this guy calls during the month of February. I got a double dose in '08 because I heard it all November during the climax of election season...then for another two months after, and then it was February again, and of course, I heard it some more! On one hand you have to admire his consistency...but only if that hand is nowhere near my job! I don't want to blaspheme, but it's the only way that I can think of to convey how I truly feel about this man and his favorite quote of all time! "GOD I HATE THIS MAN!"

The worst part of it is...that style of selective quoting and dogged repetition isn't exclusive to people who call in to radio programs. Turn on Fox News...(it doesn't matter when you read this, it'll still be happening). Whatever the topic of the day is...right now it's Egypt and Mubarak stepping down...the Talking Heads of that channel will be harping on one thing that's loosely or dubiously or Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-esquely connected to what's going on. In today's example "Will the Muslim Brotherhood control the new government?" And they'll quote some survey that says 20% of Egyptians support Al Qaeda etc.

First off, who did this survey? and who were they asking? Second,  I'd bet all the tea in China that I could find a survey pool that would tell me that more than 20% of Americans want to shoot the President in the! All I'm saying is that you can't take random numbers blurted out at you by talentless slack-jawed twits at face value. Hell, we all know that 38% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and that 83% of made up statistics will include either the number 3 or the number 8!

At least in the Fox News example, they're giving you a knee-jerk reaction to something that is different for them and is therefore frightening to simpletons. In the first example, the Lincoln Douglas Debates quote...this guy is harping on a quote made 150 years ago by a guy who lost the Presidential race and is only remembered at all because the debates were against the man who would become "The Great Emancipator"... FUCKIN LET IT GO ALREADY!

On the up side, listening to this guy is the only bad part of my job...besides the people who don't understand the concept of "feedback"...and the pay...and the social life crippling hours... Well, I think it's about time to start mailing out those Resumes! (and yes, I did say it without that poncy little accent over the "e"...I talk 'Murrican [not completely true, could you imagine if I were like that though? how horrible])

Anyway, comments, questions, suggestions (for the topic of the next blog or where you think I should stick my opinions about things) are all welcome!

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